In relation to inclusion policies and in order to revive and regenerate urban spaces and provide the civil society, disadvantaged people, marginalised groups of society, including elderly people, young people, migrants, with better access to arts and culture, support is provided through cultural infrastructure projects as well as through a funding scheme for regional authorities.
The important contribution of culture to processes of social cohesion, including the integration of disadvantaged groups (i.e. economic migrants, people with special needs, minority groups, marginalised people, etc.), is a fundamental principle in all relevant policy documents of the Ministry, as well as in the funding schemes for providing state-aid to cultural operators. Therefore, social cohesion is an established goal in all educational and cultural activities. More specifically, several initiatives, involving local government and third sector actors, including NGOs and individual volunteers, some in the context of EU funded programmes, focus on encouraging social inclusion of immigrants, fighting against human trafficking, and other relevant issues.
Furthermore, the Cultural Services collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare in organising workshops of visual-audio expressions and games for children in Children’s Shelters (Nicosia Youth Hostel and Limassol Shelter) giving them the opportunity to express themselves creatively. The workshops that take place within this framework also offer the chance for personal growth and development as well as an amelioration of self-esteem and foster creativity through participation in communal and team-work activities.
The Cultural Services provide the following initiatives for the ageing citizens:
- grants for cultural institutions and individuals;
- free admission for the aged to cultural activities of the Cultural Services;
- reduced rates at events (Cyprus International Film Festival, Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, Concerts, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra);
- a monthly allowance to honorary cultural creators over 63 who have financial needs; and
- free admission to museums managed by the Cultural Services (State Gallery / National Struggle Museum).
Certain initiatives also aim at bolstering social inclusion such as the support provided to economic migrants through the Induction Guide for new coming pupils from other countries which is translated in eight languages (English, Turkish, Russian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Arabic). In addition to the above, certain measures facilitate the integration of students at risk to the school system. A specific programme has been formulated against early school leaving, school failure and deficiency in ZEP (Zones of Educational Priority).
Apart from the above, the Ministry of Education and Culture through institutional and financial support to certain initiatives aims to strengthen the third sector and reinforce cultural interventions in society by private not for profit organisations. In this context support is provided to the Foundation of Cyprus Symphony Orchestra or to the newly established Foundation for Children and Young People which amongst others promotes music performances for migrant children and young people. Furthermore, school based intervention programmes are to cover the educational needs of migrant students and children from refugee and asylum-seeker families (cf. chapter 2.5.2).